Almost exactly six months ago, I got a notice from the Internal Revenue Service. They send these notices out once in awhile, and every time Iím torn between ripping the envelope open right there in the post office and waiting a few days before opening it at all. Itís almost always bad news, but I have a hard time deciding whether to plunge into the icy water or ease in one toe at a time. All I know is, eventually Iím going to be cold and wet.
This particular notice from the IRS was bad news in the sense that I had to deal with it, but good news in the sense that the discrepancy they were questioning was one Iíd already corrected, using the proper form and in a timely manner. A year and a half before. More than two years ago. In February, 2007.
I wrote them back an elaborate and detailed explanation, which they acknowledged three weeks later. They hadnít resolved the matter, they said, but they would contact me within 60 days with their reply. They informed me that I didnít need to do anything else. Thatís good, because I canít imagine what else I could have done anyway.
Today, after another five months or so, I got another letter from the IRS. I didnít want to open it, but I didnít want to put it off. Same old story. ďWe have delayed sending you further notices while we research this matter,Ē the letter read. ďDue to heavy workload, we have not yet completed our research to resolve your inquiry.Ē My inquiry into their mistake regarding the taxes I paid (in full) in 2006.
They invited me to do two things: throw away any correspondence from them I might have received since their last notice, and make a payment, in case I wanted to reduce my tax liability and interest charges. There was no indication of how much they thought I should pay, but I know the answer to that: nothing.